Hi there, just thought i'd share with you my mobile Spitfire MkIX simpit in the building phase.
This simpit has a particular feature where the rear of the cockpit with the pilot seat slides backwards for ease of access. I plan to take this to airshows so that visitors can experience what it was like to fly a Spitfire. I have not added the skin yet as the cockpit is quite small and it is easier to fit the parts and wiring without the skin. All the controls are mostly 3D printed having been re-designed from original drawings to fit modern electronic components without altering their exterior aspect or size. From the left you can see the rudder and elevator trim wheels, these are geared to reproduce the revolutions required, three replica 5C/543 switches for fuel pump, pitot heat and radiator. Then comes the throttle quadrant with fuel cut-off, throttle, airscrew control and friction levers. These all work, the throttle grip is fitted with a bomb release button, the throttle gate has an adjustable max take-off stop. The undercarriage warning horn switch is a dummy for the time being. Above the throttle quadrant is the VHF remote controller unit. This has seven pushbuttons and momentary LED lightning which users can program for either real radio channels and PTT or which can be affected to other functions. This unit also houses an Arduino PCB. The instrument panel has a cut out so that the pilot can see a video screen - I am using track IR for this pit as not everyone is comfortable with VR. I have built a flaps operating lever but this is not fitted in this cockpit as with the cut out it cannot fitted in its correct position. The panel shows dummy gauge facings and a removable lower part of the blind flying panel, as this is where a small keyboard is suspended when flying. Below this are two dummy cockpit lighting knobs and two working booster and starter pushbuttons, without covers for the moment. Just below is a working main fuel cock lever and a dummy Ki-Gass primer pump. I intend to make this into a working version. To the right is a fold away mouse pad. The control column is set at the correct height and rest angle. It has a spring loaded strut near it's base which holds it in neutral position and which controls forward and aft movement limitations. The column moves forward 11° and aft 14,3° to mimic the real thing. The strut looks a bit like the elevator control rod on the real aircraft. The spade grip has a working spring loaded brakes lever and a paddle type firing button allowing either or, or both types of guns to be fired. It also has a safety catch which is both mechanical and electronic. The roll potentiometer is at the base of the column controlled by a strap (replacing and oiled chain) fixed on a "cog" at the top of the column and a pulley at the base. This is mostly hidden by the chain guard made of card with 3D printed mounting brackets. On the right cockpit side is the working chassis control unit which has its locking gates and status window. At the moment this window shows UP or DOWN when the gear lever is in the upper or lower gates. This is being modified to show IDLE at all times except when the lever is either travelling UPwards or DOWNwards as in the real aircraft. Below this is the auxiliary fuel tank cock and jettison handle. The system is designed such that the jettison handle is locked except when the cock lever is in the fully forward OFF position. I have also made a wobble fuel pressure pump but this can only be mounted when the right hand skin panelling is fitted.
I intend to build a second more complete cockpit for VR, where all clickable controls can be operated in the cockpit without the use of a keypad or mouse. VoiceAttack software is great for own use, but for public use I'll need to ensure that all controls required for flying are working in the cockpit.
All this started off as a personal project, but having designed the parts it was a pretty simple step to make them available to sim pilots. I therefore created a desk mounted left hand cockpit kit with trims, throttle quadrant and RCU and a free standing floor mounted control column kit. I am currently working on a right hand cockpit kit with chassis unit, auxiliary fuel tank controls and the wobble pump. These kits are all wired up to their own Arduino game controllers and are pretty much plug'n'play. I provide a manual to help with tuning and assignments in three most popular combat flight simulators. I only build to order as this is a one-man garage business. For more information visit www.spitfirehistories.com